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The Life Of The Fields
by Richard Jefferies
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John Richard Jefferies was an English nature writer, essayist and journalist. He wrote fiction mainly based on farming and rural life. From early in life he showed a great love of the countryside, but was temperamentally unsuited to follow his father as a farmer, and in 1866 he found employment as a newspaper reporter for the North Wiltshire Herald and the Swindon Advertiser. In late 1877 he moved to Surbiton to be nearer the hub of literary England. His new surroundings defined him, as a country writer. Articles drawing on Jefferies' Wiltshire experiences were snapped up by the Pall Mall Gazette, to be followed by similar collections of essays, like Round About a Great Estate (1880). About this time he wrote his extraordinary autobiography, The Story of My Heart: An Autobiography (1883).
The lost leaves measure our years; they are gone as the days are gone, and the bare branches silently speak of a new year, slowly advancing to its buds, its foliage, and fruit. Deciduous trees associate with human life as this yew never can. Clothed in its yellowish-green needles, its tarnished green, it knows no hope or sorrow; it is indifferent to winter, and does not look forward to summer. With their annual loss of leaves, and renewal, oak and elm and ash and beech seem to stand by us and to share our thoughts.
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